The sound of water bubbling in foot basins accompanies the chatter of clients as experienced nail technicians perform mani-pedis at Pamper Nails. Here, each nail service is tailored to the customer’s specifications, and can result in a range of outcomes from classic french manicures to less classic french manicures featuring neon pink tips that add exclamation points to your sign language.
The Shellac manicure begins like many manicures do?but immediately there is something different. Star Nails? meticulous technicians trim, file, and shape fingernails, tame cuticles, and apply seemingly standard polish with a remarkable attention to detail. And then something really sets it apart. Hands suddenly find themselves beneath the glow of a UV lamp, where rays typically associated with the sun and George Clooney?s blinding smile have been corralled to cure that seemingly ordinary polish into chip-resistant nail shields that last for up to two weeks. They also pamper sore and tired feet with skin-softening salt scrubs, hot-towel wraps, and hot-stone massages.
At Encounters Salon and Day Spa, the floors and mirrors sparkle and the retail area is stocked with products from Aveda, Surface, and other high-end brands. The stylists?some of whom have been cutting, coloring, and conditioning hair for three decades?are friendly, smiling, and collaborative, and it's common to see several of them exchanging ideas about the cut of one client. Encounters carefully selects cosmetology-school graduates for its nine-month in-house training program, which is designed to help new stylists quickly grow their experience and clientele.
Stylist and nail technician Lucy Grothusen works from a cozy corner of Aspen Salon and Spa where she frees nails from scraggly cuticles and daubs them with durable Shellac gel. She can also affix Tammy Taylor acrylics to add length and style. With the Rockstar nail treatment, she brushes nails with Shellac, dots them with glitter, and teaches them to play the solo in "Free Bird." In addition to her signature nail services, Lucy performs cuts and colors on tresses, spritzing heads with Kenra and alcohol-free Pureology products.
Licensed massage therapist Mandi Rhue of Aspen Salon and Spa soothes muscles using techniques designed to emphasize either relaxation or pain relief. Calming palms and fingers perform a Swedish massage, which unties muscular knots and reties them in the shape of puppies to reduce stress. The gentle technique makes a fitting introduction for back rub rookies. Firmer pressure powers the deep-tissue massage, which finds Mandi pressing harder to relieve the stiffness lurking below the body’s surface. A therapeutic massage calms the nervous system by encouraging clients to imagine achy joints in their underwear and by applying tender kneading that targets pain and inflammation.